BULGARIA - BLAGOEVGRAD REGION

Source: wikipedia.org

Blagoevgrad District consists of 14 municipalities with 12 cities. It is located in southwestern Bulgaria and borders four other Bulgarian provinces to the north and east, the Greek region of Macedonia to the south and northern Macedonia to the west. The Blagoevgrad region is the third-largest in Bulgaria after the Burgas and Sofia provinces. Historical and archaeological monuments constitute the ruins of antique Thracian and Roman settlements, Early Christian basilicas, medieval Byzantine and Bulgarian towns, monasteries, and fortresses, as well as many preserved buildings and whole villages (Melnik, the Rozhen Monastery and Bansko). In the main city of the district, named Blagoevgrad, there is a theater, a library with 345,000 volumes, and an opera. In this area, there are also galleries and small cultural institutions, called – “chitalishta”. This area is also a home to the most famous folklore and music group – the folklore dance ensemble “Pirin”. Blagoevgrad region also has 10 museums that preserve the rich historical, ethnographic, and archaeological heritage.

Blagoevgrad Province

Rozhen Monastery
Rila Monastery

Source: wikipedia.org

The   Rozhen   Monastery   is   the   largest   monastery   in   Pirin   Mountain, south-western   Bulgaria located   in   the   earth   pyramids in Melnik (the smallest Bulgarian city). The earliest written source testifying to the monastery’s existence is a note on a chant book from 1551, today in the Great Lavra library on Mount Athos. The monastery church was formed before the 15th century and painted in 1597.  The Rozhen Monastery was devastated by fire between 1662 and 1674, destroying the library and severely damaging most buildings. The monastery was restored over the next century with the financial help of rich Bulgarians from the whole country.

 

Source: wikipedia.org

The Rila Monastery is considered to be the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It was founded in the 10th century and is regarded as one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments, situated in south-western Rila Mountain. It was declared a national historical monument in 1976 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Since 1991 it has been entirely subordinated to the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. It is traditionally thought that the monastery was founded by the hermit St. Ivan of Rila, whose name it bears. The hermit actually lived in a cave without any material possessions not far from the monastery’s location, while the complex was built by his students, who came to the mountains to receive their education.

Samuilova Fortress
Vavedenie Bogorodichno – Church

Source: Tourism.government.bg

Samuilova fortress is the name of a medieval fortress, situated between the mountains Belasitsa and Ograzhden. It was probably built in the period 1009-1013, during the reign of king Samui, whose name it bears. The place is now famous as the national park-museum “Samuil fortress”. The fortress is included in the list of “100 National Tourist Sights of Bulgaria”. Today, this historical monument is a major tourist attraction and was heavily restored in 2003 with the addition of entirely new battlements where none had survived.

 

Source: wikipedia.org

“Vavedenie  Bogorodichno”  church  in  Blagoevgrad  was  built  in  1844  and is part of the Nevrokop diocese of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. It has been declared a cultural monument of national importance. The church is positioned in the old district of Blagoevgrad – Varosha. 

It has a structure similar to that of the church in the Rila Monastery, with a three-nave Basilica, richly painted by masters from the Bansko School of Painting.

 

 

Old Municipality of Blagoevgrad

Source: Sites.google.com

In  the  city  centre  of  Blagoevgrad  is  situated  the building  of  the  old  Municipality. Today it is operating as a restaurant and a cosmetic store. The building of the old Municipality is famous for the clock that it has on its front facade, and the square in front is still known as the “Square with the big clock”. The town is the economic and cultural centre of Southwestern Bulgaria. It is located at the foot of the Rila Mountains. Blagoevgrad features a pedestrian downtown with preserved 19th-century architecture and numerous restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, and boutiques.

Immaterial Cultural Patrimony

Source: Taratanci.com

Pirin region

Sources: Picture 1 Npr.org ; Picture 2-3 Folkcostume.blogspot.com; Picture 4 Bulgaria.desertcart.com

 

 

 

 

  

Folk  dances,  folk  costumes  and  musical  instruments  in  the  Pirin  folklore  region. In each folklore area, dances have its own character. In the Pirin folklore region the dances are diverse and are divided into one for male and for female. Typical for the area  are  the  Macedonian  horo,  Dzhanguritsa  horo,  Ohrid  horo,  Shirto  horo  and others. Typical instruments are drum, tambourine, bagpipe “jura”, zurna, shepherd’s whistle “svorche”. The  Pirin  women’s  costume  belongs  to  the  Saichens:  shirt,  sai  (klashnik);  red, woolen belt; narrow, long apron. The head is covered with a towel tied behind the hair. The legs are shod in thick patterned socks and scarves. The men’s costume is white: white, shirt: tight white pants (jivri); short, sleeveless men’s clothing (jamadan); and a red, woolen belt. Socks and scarves are worn on the feet, and a black hat is worn on the head.

 Pirin  Ensemble

Sources: Borderlessculture.eu

Folk  dances,  folk  costumes  and  musical  instruments  in  the  Pirin  folklore  region. In each folklore area, dances have its own character. In the Pirin folklore region the dances are diverse and are divided into one for male and for female.  Typical for the area  are  the  Macedonian  horo,  Dzhanguritsa  horo,  Ohrid  horo,  Shirto  horo  and others. Typical instruments are drum, tambourine, bagpipe “jura”, zurna, shepherd’s whistle “svorche”. The  Pirin  women’s  costume  belongs  to  the  Saichens:  shirt,  sai  (klashnik);  red, woolen belt; narrow, long apron. The head is covered with a towel tied behind the hair. The legs are shod in thick patterned socks and scarves. The men’s costume is white: white, shirt: tight white pants (jivri); short, sleeveless men’s clothing (jamadan); and a red, woolen belt. Socks and scarves are worn on the feet, and a black hat is worn on the head.

Traditions and customs

Source: Pik.bg

The cultural  traditions  in  the  Pirin  folklore  region  are  multifaceted,  dynamic  and extremely  rich  in  rituals.  Among the most popular customs,  the  Mummers,  also called “Babugeri” and the two famous Pirin weddings – the family and “Pig”.

· “Babugeri”,

· “Kukeri”

Babugers are masquerade games dating back hundreds of years. The main purpose is to drive away evil forces and bring health and prosperity to the entire population.

Traditionally, the procession carnival games are performed mainly by men, young and  old,  but  mostly  bachelors.  

The Pirin Wedding

Source: Bg-mamma.com

 

 

 

The  Pirin  wedding  is  very  rich  in  rites  and  rituals and everything in the wedding  has a name and a characteristic way to be performed. It starts on Monday, which turns the customs at the Pirin wedding into a week-long holiday.  All rituals are performed to the sounds of typical musical instruments in the area, and the songs are sung mostly by women.

Pig Wedding

Source: Bulgariatravel.tv

To this day, in various villages in the area, between Christmas and New Year, the so-called “Pig wedding” is held.

This tradition is a well-deserved fattening of the pig at the end of the year, being held  for one-week. 

It begins with the overall preparation,  from  the slaughter  of  the pig  to when the whole village gathers to celebrate, all on the sounds of the “zurnadzhii”.

Mandatory dishes on the table are fried pork crumbs and meat with rice.

Pickles and beer, wine are always officially brought to the table on these days. This is the time of songs and good mood!